STOUGHTON — Lake Mills opened the season by playing on the road against a preseason favorite in the Badger South Conference.

The L-Cats, despite trailing by 13 points at halftime, made it a one-possession game with five minutes remaining but couldn’t get past Stoughton in a 53-44 non-conference loss on Tuesday.

“We didn’t play great in the first half. We clawed back in the second half and switched to some zones,” Lake Mills boys basketball coach Steve Hicklin said. “We had some foul trouble but got down two to at one point with five minutes left, hung around a little bit and I thought we played well all things considered.”

Junior forward Charlie Bender led the L-Cats with 14 points and senior forward Mike Herrington added 13. Junior point guard Drew Stoddard scored eight.

“They had a lot of size inside and (Jaxson) Retrum was in foul trouble,” Hicklin said. “We had to come up with a new play on the fly and our guys did well considering a lot of it was stuff we hadn’t practiced much.”

The L-Cats were playing without junior forward Adam Moen who was out with a thumb injury.

“We did a better job of getting the ball to the basket in the second half,” Hicklin said. “In the first half we were settling. Wanted to get some easier shots in the second half with dribble penetration which we were able to do. They are one of the better defensive teams in the area and it took a while to adjust.”

Stoughton’s Cael McGee led all scorers with 22 points and Nathan Hutcherson made four 3-pointers.

Lake Mills hosts Watertown for a non-conference game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Johnson Creek 64, Dodgeland 59

JUNEAU — Senior point guard Justin Swanson scored 27 points and closed out the game at the free-throw line to lead Johnson Creek’s boys basketball team to a 64-59 non-conference win over Dodgeland in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday.

“They kept the ball in Swanson’s hands late and he made 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch,” Dodgeland boys basketball coach Bill Otte said. “He did a lot tonight and not just from the outside (where he made four 3-pointers). In the first half, he got into the belly of our defense and made plays not only for himself, but for others. I had questions about him coming in (with his new role as more of a scorer), but he showed up ready to go.”

Senior point guard Seth Christopherson countered with a game-high 29 points for Dodgeland, which stayed close throughout.

“We’ve got to walk before we can run,” Otte said. “We did some good things tonight. In the first half, we committed too many turnovers. In the second half, we shot just 9-of-20 at the free throw line. You’ve got to hit free throws down the stretch.”

Junior center Christian Nunez added eight rebounds for Dodgeland. Junior guard/forward Sy Otte added 11 points. Junior guard/forward Dilan Fenner had four assists.

Sophomore forward Logan Sullivan added 10 points for Johnson Creek.

Johnson Creek hosts Cambria-Friesland on Thursday, Dec. 5.

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